Istanbul is the only city in both Europe and Asia.
Two banks separated by the famous Bosphorus. Two faces also.
If the very touristic European shore shines brightly, its Asian sister is much more authentic and peaceful.
There are two towers in Istanbul : Galata, an old astronomical observatory located on the European shore, and Maiden's tower or Kız Kulesi, located in Üsküdar Accessible via a crossing of the Bosphorus.
The Maiden's tower, former prison, faces the Topkapi palace and now houses a restaurant. It's especially worth seeing, although we have almost the same from the banks of Üsküdar. When the beautiful days arrive, it's pleasant to settle peacefully on the cushions arranged along the shore and to admire the view on the Bosphorus with in the distance the silhouette of the palace of the sultans.
James Bond is definitely a fan of Istanbul, since after the basilica cistern, Saint Sophia, the Egyptian bazaar, the Kucuksu palace and the rooftops of the Grand Bazaar, the famous agent of his majesty went for a ride to the Maiden's tower, in The world is not enough, to join Elektra as Sophie Marceau.
You can also see the tower in the movie Hitman and the video game Assassin’s Creed: Revelations.
Best time to go. The tower is located on an island and is accessible by boat. It's open every day from 9am to 7pm. A cafe with 360 degree view on the Bosphorus, and a restaurant open only in the evening, but expensive : with a menu ranging from 35 € to 41 €, you clearly pay the view. To avoid, therefore.
Budget. Boat trip (from Salacak to Üsküdar) + Entrance 4.20€ (20 TL). It is possible to have breakfast from 9am to 1pm for 9€ (45TL) on weekdays, and 16€ (75TL) on weekends, including entrance to the tower.
The Pierre Loti Café and the Ottoman cemetery
To admire a city and take its measure, it's necessary to gain height. This is why Eyup and its cafés, including the Pierre Loti, are popular with tourists as well as stambouliotes onweekends. At the end of your cruise on the Golden Horn, cross the street then follow the road on your right until you arrive at the cable car that will allow you to access the hill.
The Nevzehir Telepherisye.
The Pierre Loti Cafe is the first and therefore has the most unobstructed view of the panorama. The writer was comfortable there and took some of his inspirations.
To learn more about Pierre Loti, the greatest fan of Istanbul, go that way.
If the best terrace seats are no longer available, no panic, a platform will allow you to take all the desired photos.
In good weather it's pleasant to descend the hill, not by the cable car, but through the alleys of the cemetery of Eyup, which shelters Ottoman tombs, and other more recent ones.
Best time to go. There is no longer direct link between Eminönü and Eyup : you will have to access it via Karakoy (so cross the Galata bridge if you are staying in Sultanahmet), or from Usküdar. It may then be interesting to take the boat from Eminönü to visit Usküdar and the Asian shore, then leave for a cruise on the Golden Horn, until Eyup, which will last 1h.
As for the cable car, avoid going there during the weekend, the place is also prized by Istanbul, otherwise you may wait a long time to reach the hill, even with a cable car every 5 minutes (until 22h). And above all, go there before 2pm, in high as low season.
Budget. Cruise on the Golden Horn to Eyup: 2€, the cable car ride is included in the Istanbul Kart transport map, otherwise 4TL (0.85€)
Also to discover on the Asian shore, the Beylerbeyi Palace :